A Showdown of Drive Modes: Comparing the 2023 GMC Acadia and the 2023 Kia Sorento

Three-row SUVs are synonymous with adventure. Perhaps you have fond memories of riding in the back of a three-row SUV during a road trip, sharing snacks, taking naps, and singing songs between pit stops. These versatile vehicles provide everything you need to reach your destination while enjoying the journey. With spacious and comfortable cabins designed for tranquility, they create the perfect environment for passengers to catch some rest between sightseeing stops. Today’s models come equipped with modern enhancements such as USB ports and Wi-Fi, allowing everyone to stay connected, charge their devices, and stream movies and shows.

However, what truly sets an SUV apart is its capability to conquer various terrains. Many three-row SUVs now feature selectable drive modes. These modes allow you to inform your vehicle about the terrain or driving style you anticipate. Intuitive systems adapt various components of the vehicle, such as throttle response, traction, and torque delivery, to optimize performance in different environments. Both the 2023 GMC Acadia and the 2023 Kia Sorento offer selectable drive modes, although there are some differences. Let’s explore the drive mode options of these models and determine which one suits your driving needs best.

The Drive Modes of the 2023 Kia Sorento

Let’s begin with the Kia Sorento, which offers four drive modes: normal, eco, sport, and snow.

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Normal Mode

Normal mode is likely where you’ll spend most of your time. It is the default setting unless you manually choose another mode. Normal mode is ideal for freeway and city driving, providing a balanced combination of fuel efficiency and a smooth, comfortable ride with sufficient power to keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle.

Sport Mode

When you find yourself on open highways with higher speed limits or controlled track environments, Sport mode is your go-to. It heightens throttle response, delivering rapid acceleration. The transmission shift point is also raised to extract maximum power from the engine. Furthermore, Sport mode enhances steering precision, providing you with clear feedback from your wheels, especially at high speeds. Keep in mind that using Sport mode may slightly reduce fuel economy, so it may not be your everyday choice.

Eco Mode

Eco mode is designed to improve fuel economy. It adjusts the transmission to lower RPMs and fine-tunes throttle response and other settings to minimize fuel consumption. This mode is perfect for slower speeds, such as city driving or running errands.

Snow Mode

As the name suggests, Snow mode is specifically tailored for snowy and icy conditions. It optimizes traction control and ensures power is evenly distributed to all wheels, offering enhanced grip on slippery roads.

Considering these four modes, the 2023 Kia Sorento is an excellent choice for road trips. It allows you to accelerate on highways with increased speed limits, ensures safety in snowy areas, and saves you fuel during long journeys.

The Drive Modes of the 2023 GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia has a well-deserved reputation for being a robust and durable three-row SUV. As a brand, GMC is known for crafting tough, long-lasting vehicles, and the 2023 Acadia lives up to this expectation with its selectable drive modes. Like the Sorento, it provides Normal, Sport, and Snow modes, but it does not include an Eco mode.

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Additionally, the Acadia offers the choice between four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive, allowing you to switch to fuel-saving two-wheel drive when needed. What sets the GMC Acadia apart from the Sorento are two additional modes: Off-Road and Tow/Haul. With its higher towing capacity, it’s no surprise that GMC incorporated a mode specifically catered to towing and hauling.


Engaging Tow/Haul mode in the GMC Acadia shifts the vehicle to a lower gear, providing increased torque. This improves driving conditions when towing or hauling large items.


Off-Road mode enhances traction and maneuverability on uneven, unpredictable terrains such as gravel, sand, mud, and dirt. If your adventures take you off the beaten path, the GMC Acadia is the SUV for you.

How to Use Selectable Drive Mode

In the GMC Acadia, you can access the drive mode controls through a conveniently-placed round dial between the driver and front passenger seats, close to the cupholders. You can switch between two-wheel and all-wheel drive, as well as select Sport mode, Off-Road mode, and Tow/Haul mode by simply rotating the dial clockwise or counterclockwise.

The Sorento’s drive mode selector knob may look slightly different depending on the trim level, but it functions similarly. Located near the gear shift, it is also a round knob that you rotate to choose your desired mode. The selected mode will be displayed on your driver information screen.

Which Group of Drive Modes Suits You?

Considering the slightly different drive mode options available in the 2023 GMC Acadia and the 2023 Kia Sorento, it is essential to consider your driving preferences and habits when selecting your three-row SUV. The Kia Sorento’s drive modes are well-suited for everyday driving scenarios, providing excellent fuel economy for long trips and city driving. The Sport mode adds an extra boost when suitable. The Snow mode is invaluable for those residing in snowy regions or planning regular trips to snow-covered areas.

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If you anticipate venturing off-pavement and tackling rough terrains, the GMC Acadia’s Off-Road mode becomes a necessity. It ensures improved traction and maneuverability on challenging surfaces. Furthermore, if you plan on utilizing the SUV’s towing capacity, the Tow/Haul mode provides enhanced power and handling, which the Sorento lacks.

Prioritize your driving needs and select a vehicle that aligns with them. Avoid paying for features you won’t frequently use while ensuring your SUV can handle your daily driving requirements. If you need further assistance in choosing the ideal model, consult your local dealership and take both the GMC Acadia and the Kia Sorento for test drives.

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